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#35063 KV-II Heavy Tank

35063 Box Cover

This kit represents one of the final 100 KV-2 Model 1940s completed at LKZ in May/June 1941.  However, since it shares many common components with #35066, some compromises have been made with respect to accuracy.

The hull is molded as a conventional tub including the underside, hull sides and lower front hull. The hull sides include several holes, courtesy of the original motorized KV-1 kit from the 1970s.  These should be filled, as should the holes in the underside of the hull.  The underside is devoid of any detail.  The tail light and exhaust air deflector plate are nicely represented on the lower rear hull, though the deflector plate is rather thick and could be improved by careful sanding.  The nose plate is smooth and lacks the 11 filled bolt holes that should be present on each face.

The suspension swing arms, shock absorbers, idler adjustment mechanism and return roller mounts are molded integrally with the hull tub, and molding limitations adversely affect the definition of these parts.  The return roller mounts are too thick and lack the correct taper, though this is different to see when the return rollers are in place.  The mounts for the suspension swing arms lack the grease fitting but this is a minor error and will go unnoticed by all but the most scrupulous observer.  The swing arms feature three attachment bolts on the torsion bar hub caps, rather than the correct six.

Pressed steel two-part resilient road wheels with lightening holes and six cooling vents on the inners discs are included, and these are the correct pattern for a late June production example.  However, the cooling vents are depicted as narrow holes rather than broad circles that should lie essentially flush with the surface of the disc.  The bolt detail on the hubs is also significantly smaller than it should be.  Fortunately, several aftermarket manufacturers make suitable, accurate replacements.  The return rollers are of the pressed-steel variety and are correct for a June 1941 example.

The tracks are correct in width but the pitch of the track links is too short.  This results in the track links being too closely spaced, and Tamiya has included an additional tooth on each sprocket to compensate for this error.  This means that you cannot simply replace the kit tracks with aftermarket items unless you replace the sprockets too.  Fortunately several aftermarket manufacturers provide sprockets as well as tracks.

The idlers are correct and cleanly molded, but lack the grease fitting on their hubs.

The upper hull is molded in a single piece with integral fenders.  Unfortunately this part is inherited from Tamiya's older KV-1C kit and is not entirely accurate for a May/June 1941 hull.  The driver's episcope cover lacks the flange, which is correct for a vehicle completed in early 1942 but not for a May/June 1941 vehicle.  It is possible to add the flange from styrene sheet if you wish.  The hull top includes a chevron-shaped armor fillet protecting the turret ring, as well as two small bars of armor welded to the engine compartment roof plate.  These did not appear until August 1941, were not fitted to KV-2s and should be removed.

The forward left-hand fuel filler cap, between the hatch and the turret ring, is missing entirely.  The filler caps behind the turret ring are too tall and should have flat tops, rather than the domed tops as depicted on the kit part.  They should be cut away and replaced with styrene discs, using the forward right-hand filler cap as a guide for the size and details.

The hull hatch is the correct early pattern, but lacks hinge bolt detail on its outer face.  The engine access hatch is the late domed variant with an inspection port and two lifting eyes.  It is quite simple to sand away the inspection port, but the lifting eyes are undersized, incorrect in shape and include an integrally molded cable and hook.  The hinges are missing entirely.  These fittings will be tedious to scratch build.  The flush-fitting transmission maintenance hatches molded to the upper hull are covered by separate parts of the correct early pattern, but these lack bolt detail.

The engine access hatch represents the domed pattern with two lifting eyes and an inspection port in the center of the dome.  This type of hatch was introduced at the end of 1941 when the engine cooling system was revised, and is therefore incorrect for a May/June 1941 vehicle.  The hatch cover itself is approximately 3mm too wide, and should be cut away and replaced with an after-market item.

The radiator intake screens are the early pattern that was superceded in early May 1941, and are therefore incorrect for most of the KV-2 Model 1940s completed in May or June.  The bolt detail around the screens is correct for a late production Model 1941 hull built in the spring of 1942 (as represented by the KV-1C kit) but not for a June 1941 vehicle.  The screens should be replaced with after-market items of the late pattern, and the bolts altered using drawings as a reference for the correct configuration.

The bolt configuration on the engine compartment and transmission compartment roof plates is also correct for a Model 1941 but not for a Model 1940 hull.  There should be eleven equally spaced bolts across the rear edge of the engine compartment roof plate and across the front and rear edges of the transmission compartment roof plate.  The bolts themselves are flat-headed whereas they should have conical heads.

The kit’s fenders are approximately 2mm too wide.  The fender brackets are all of the solid type, which is more appropriate for a 1942 production example.  The brackets feature four bolts attaching them to the fenders, rather than the correct six, and lack the flanges and bolts on their vertical edges attaching them to the hull.  I recommend replacing both the fenders and the brackets with aftermarket items.

The upper hull sides feature several curious rectangular blocks that sit on top of the fenders.  These blocks are not present on the real vehicle and should be removed.

Applique armor is provided for the hull front but not for driver's front plate.  I have found no evidence that any KV-2 Model 1940s carried applique armor in either of these locations, though a few very late production examples carried applique armor on the hull top to protect the crew hatch, and on the upper hull sides.  Since the kit's lower hull tub includes a large hole in the lower front hull however, you must either use the incorrect applique armor or fill this hole and sand it smooth.  The process is further complicated since the base plates for the front towing eyes are molded integrally with the applique armor, and you must cut these away without damaging them and add them to the hull.

The driver's front plate includes the driver's visor, machine gun mount, headlamp and siren.  The power conduit for the headlamp and siren is present on the hull top but ends at the forward edge of the hull top, rather than extending down the driver's front plate as it should.  I recommend that you cut away the molded-on conduit and replace it with styrene rod or wire.

The kit includes three large rectangular stowage boxes for the fenders, which are correct for this variant.  However, these are a hybrid between the early and revised designs.  The boxes lack the reinforced lids but include grab handles.  The hinge details are greatly simplified and the handles are depicted as solid blocks.  The instructions direct you to fit the boxes on the number 7, 8 and 9 positions which is correct for a vehicle completed in November or December 1940 but not for a May/June 1941 vehicle.  Fit the boxes on the number 7, 8 and 10 positions instead.  Two of the smaller stowage boxes are included in the kit, but are not mentioned in the instructions. These are not required for a KV-2 and can be consigned to the spares box.  The kit also includes two cylindrical fuel tanks but these can also be sent to the spares box.

Two late pattern towing cables with cast ends are included.  These are appropriate for May/June 1941.  However, each cable and its ends are molded from styrene in a single piece.  Removing the mold seams without damaging the detail on the cables is a tedious process, and they are difficult to curve realistically from the forward towing eyes over the fenders.  In any case, the turnbuckles and attachment brackets are missing from the kit.

The fenders include attachment brackets for two sets of spare track links on the number 9 and 10 positions.  These brackets were not fitted to KV-1 Model 1940s in the summer of 1941 and should be removed.

Numerous inaccuracies are present on the MT-2 turret.  The joints between the front, side and rear plates are beveled where they should be butt joints.  The vision port and pistol port on the left-hand side of the turret are offset like those on the right-hand side, whereas they should be in line with one another.  The turret roof also slopes downward from its widest point to the rear edge.  This is incorrect; the roof should be horizontal throughout.  Unfortunately, fixing this problem will require substantial modification, possibly even rebuilding the turret shell.  Thanks to Mark Rethoret for noticing this error, which is something I missed.

On the turret roof, the episcope and ventilator covers lack flanges.  This is correct for a November/December 1940 turret, but not for a May/June 1941 turret.  The front edges (ie. nearest the openings) of the episcope covers should be undercut slightly but the kit depicts them as vertical.  This is a limitation of the molding technology of the time, and is easily addressed with a file.

The turret roof ventilators are also incorrect in shape.  Their tops should be sanded down to a more curved contour.  The large rectangular ammunition loading hatch at the rear of the roof is rectangular where it should be essentially square.  The turret hatch includes the base plate for the P40 anti-aircraft machine gun mount, which was never fitted to the KV-2.  All these issues can be addressed with some work.  The conical housings for the periscopic sights however, are too tall and slender in shape, lack the actual apertures for the sights, and feature raised circular fittings on the tops which presumably represent bolts but should, in fact, be small holes.

The gun barrel is assembled from two halves with a separate end cap.  The collar around the muzzle is present, which is appropriate for a May/June 1941 vehicle.  The collar lacks the inset grub screws but these can be easily added with the drill bit and some styrene rod.  The mantlet lacks the slots in the sides of the recuperator cover and the bolts on the top of the recuperator cover and the sighting aperture.  The rain guard at the top of the mantlet includes the correct notch in its front edge but lacks any attachment bolt detail.

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